"Riddle Me This...." Can I be Contrarian With a Small Bankroll?
With Spring in the air and MLB season just around the corner , I figured this would be a good time to try something new. I have now been playing DFS for 5 years and always tried to absorb as much content as I could. I have learned a lot , but there are things I struggle with and assume many others probably do as well. So, that lead me to the idea of attempting a blog. Be warned , I am no professional DFS writer. The extent of my experience is the pearls of wisdom I drop into Rotogrinders chat on a daily basis (make sure you read that with the sarcasm it deserves). I am just a regular Joe and an average at best DFS player with questions. With this blog series ,“Riddle Me This…” I will attempt to discuss some of the things that have come to my mind over the years. Most of this will be actual theory and game play type stuff but will contain statistical data from time to time. Lets starts with one that I know haunts the average player:
Can I be contrarian with a small bankroll?
The short and quick answer is “Absolutely , and you must”. But , the mentality of doing it and how to do it are much more complex issues. When you have a small bankroll and play limited lineups in can be really hard to take a risk and be outside the box. I hear all the time players saying “ dont wanna fade the obvious plays and they crush”. That is certainly understandable. Nobody wants to take a loss AND have to admit they did so because they didnt play the easy play. But, at the same time, if you have the same players as most everyone else how are you going to actually beat them for all the money? A lot of factors go into figuring that out such as sport, slate size, GPP field size, pricing, position depth, number of lineups made, etc. For the purpose of this blog we will try to stick to the basics and use an MLB perspective on methods to seperate yourself from the field a bit when only making a small amount of lineups.
Our first objective here is to figure out what the most obvious plays are and how highly the masses will regard them. For me , I usually just make a “first instinct” type of lineup with no research. This will typically end up being the chalky plays. Lets go to Opening Day 2018 as an example here. Im sure already you have heard things like “Stack Yankees”, “Stack Yankees and move on”, or “No Yanks , No $$$”. It makes sense, right? The Yankees have bombers like Gary Sanchez , Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton facing a lefty starting pitcher in a dome where the ball flies. Very tasty and tons of points to be had. But….how many of your competitors will have have this same exact stack as well? Does this stack lead you to even more chalk with a specific type of roster construction?
1) Use a different combination:
There is no denying that a team like the Yankees is in a great spot , but the bombers mentioned above aren’t the only players in the lineup. There are still guys like Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Neil Walker. Use some of those guys and maybe add in only one of the bombers. Maybe fade the bombers enirely for these “other” Yankees to keep some exposure? If you have a low risk tolerance, you can even use the chalk stack but pair it with another team or a starting pitcher that seems to not be as popular (White Sox,Orioles,Angels,etc).
2) Finds some pivots:
One of the easiest ways to be contrarian is to just find some other teams that are just as potent but maybe not as highly regarded. On Opening day, teams like the Astros,Nationals and Royals will all garner some ownership and are in great spots but will likely be way less owned than the mega chalk and could easily outperform. On big slates there are always plenty of options to use.
3) Understand the nature of MLB:
One thing that can help you be brave enough to avoid some chalk is to understand that every hitter in MLB has the same exact floor for DFS points..it is 0. We all love Aaron Judge #mike-trout)Mike Trout”:/players/mike-trout-11380 and Bryce Harper but we also know that these guys can take an 0-4 any day and a guy like Scooter Gennett can hit 4 HR in a game. There is no “lock” play in MLB. The lower tier players can outscore a stud on any given day and give you an edge on the field.
Also , remember that these same principles apply to selecting pitchers as well. I hope that some of this will be helpful for the lower bankroll guys to feel more confident in seperating themselves from the herd. Dont be afraid to get off the beaten path. Lets turn our small change into big bucks.Feel free to share any comments or suggestions to help me make this better.